Congress to rally Opposition against European Union MPs’ Kashmir visit

Party says Centre not accountable to European Parliament

October 29, 2019 09:57 pm | Updated 10:25 pm IST - New Delhi

Quick action: Policemen arriving to remove road blocks set up by Kashmiri protesters in Srinagar on Tuesday.

Quick action: Policemen arriving to remove road blocks set up by Kashmiri protesters in Srinagar on Tuesday.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is likely to soon call a meeting of the Opposition parties to discuss the visit of a delegation of European Union parliamentarians to Jammu and Kashmir on the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

“The government is accountable to Indian Parliament and not to the European Parliament. The government denied privileges to members of the Indian Parliament to visit part of their own country and detained them at the airport and then they invite this motley group belonging to fringe far right groups; MPs who do not represent the mainstream political parties of their respective countries,” deputy leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma told The Hindu on Tuesday .

The members of the delegation, Mr. Sharma said represent ideologies that are in direct conflict with the mainstream parties in those countries. And the visit he said is “ill-advised.”

“We are shocked at this diplomatic disaster. It has caused avoidable embarrassment to India. On the one hand we have consistently and firmly maintained that J&K is India’s internal affair. Pakistan and China both have sought to internationalise it. Why should we do the same. Because of this visit Kashmir is in the sharp focus of the entire world,” Mr. Sharma added.

The Opposition will be deliberating on what course of action to take. “We have mainly two options. We can move a privilege motion just on the fact that the Indian parliamentarians were detained at Srinagar airport, though, chairman of the Rajya Sabha and Speaker in the Lok Sabha in all likelihood will dispose of the application,” a top Opposition leader said.

The other option is to move an adjournment motion to hold a daylong debate on the issue to censure the government. On August 9, just four days after Article 370 was scaled down a delegation of Left leaders including CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, along with his CPI counterpart D. Raja were detained in Srinagar. On August 24, a much larger delegation of eight Opposition parties that included Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi, RJD’s Manoj Jha, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, NCP’s Majeed Memon, Mr. Yechury, Mr. Raja and Kupendra Reddy from JD(S) were detained at Srinagar airport.

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